This post is one I NEVER expected to write… because personally, I feel like photography is not one of my strengths. I did have a decent point and shoot camera when we first got married, but for the past 2 years, I’ve used my iPhone 4 to take EVERY SINGLE picture. I always thought I needed the perfect background or location to take a good photo — but really, all I need is enough light. Yes, a nice backdrop would help, but when you live in toddler toy land, your house is not going to look perfect and you will most likely have a whole bunch of junk in the background of your pictures. OK, so now that we’ve got that all cleared up, here are 7 tips that have helped me when it comes to my quest for improving my photography skills. Since I have no idea what I’m doing, it usually takes me at least 20-30 pictures to capture a few good shots.
However, if you live in a cold climate (like Michigan) you might not be able to go outside every day. Our house is relatively dark (especially during the winter) because we have a large porch that shields a lot of sunlight.
Some of my most favorite pictures of Nora are ones when she’s not even looking — or sitting still!
And if you’re wondering what I do with all the pictures I take — read this post! A photographer once told me that 10% of the image in most pictures that amateurs take tell the whole story. 1.) If your camera has a macro setting (the setting that looks like a flower) you can use that to get really dramatic depth of field photos (the kind where the foreground is in clear, sharp focus and the background is blurry). Was the beautiful photo of the new bud that is on your “Big Changes” post edited using it?
Also, you don’t have to download any of the photo editing programs I talked about, they are just free internet-based programs.
I’ve been using Picmonkey since Picnik closed, and really like it, but will have to give Ribbet a try!
Do your two favorite photo editing sites do a better job than the “editing” option in iPhoto on the Mac?
Starting with better composition, we discuss how to frame your photos to get better results than the typical snapshot. Following those elements of capturing your photo, we discuss some post processing techniques and apps to help you fine tune your photos to achieve spectacular results.
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STAY CONNECTED WITH ORLANDO LOCALJoin our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Orlando Local. Whether you’re a snap-happy amateur or a kitted-out professional, capturing your holiday is important. However, the real answer is that my equipment has very, very little to do with why that photograph is beautiful. It all starts with composition, which is basically deciding exactly what you are taking a picture of. When you shoot a photo you should be thinking about what your goal is…what is it that you are trying to show people – what is the subject – and how can you bring focus to it for the viewer?
This is my one tip I try to tell every person taking a picture – don’t put your subject in the center of the picture.
You want to put the subject where the lines intersect (at the circles) – like the shed in this picture. This basically means that instead of placing Billy and Susie, or the Eiffel Tower in the center of the photo, you place is in one of the thirds of the photo. There is one exception to the Rule of Thirds, and that’s when you are composing a shot to be purposefully be symmetrical. The 2nd easiest thing you can do to improve your vacation photography is ensuring you compose a shot for leading lines. This is a pretty simple concept because we all know what a frame is – it is something that goes around a picture. When you are walking around a destination you often you need to look beyond what you first see. Most of us see something we want to photograph, put the camera up to our eye level and click. If you follow these simple composition rules for your next trip you’ll come back with pictures you are proud to share. My best advice Katie is to take a class to really learn how to use the DSLR and start shooting manual. My kids were putting out Halloween decorations last year and I grabbed my camera to record the memory.
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The Photocrati Team is filled with photographers, developers, and WordPress gurus is spread out across the United States, Canada, and Europe. As we come up on the holiday season, distress tolerance skills will probably be very helpful. So this holiday season if your drunken relatives are berating you about your college plans for the twentieth time, imagine your happy place. Olivia is a giant pile of nerd who tends to freak out about linguistic prescriptivism, gender roles, and discrimination against the mentally ill. Cropped heads, blurry, one person standing smack in the middle of a photo, not zoomed in, always 100% centered, boring (see picture below)! I take many pictures every day — some of Nora, some of recipes for future blog posts, some of decorating ideas, some of the snow on our porch, etc. Through trial and error (lots of error) I found my favorite programs and learned SOOOO much about photo editing. It’s amazing how much better some poorly lit photos will look when the colors are muted… or in black and white! I also want to mention that I’m now using Ribbet (almost exactly like the old Picnic) to edit many of my photos. Read this guest post from my friend Jodi — all about how to take amazing photos of your kids.
With blogging, I think any photo is always better than no photo… and although fabulous photos will often get more attention, the main priority should be the content of your post! I just LOVE the look of the focus on the bud and everything else blurred in the background.
Having a 5 month old baby myself, and recently working from home, I always look upto you !! I think my biggest problem is being a perfectionist- always looking for the perfect background, perfect pose, etc. I especially like the advice to take close ups – eliminating the background and better quality from the camera on my phone. And yes, in my opinion, the photo editing programs I mentioned are much easier to use and produce better results than iPhoto. We packed this episode with advice for taking better vacation photos with your smart phone. From what's hot to what's not, we can give you the local perspective to make the most out of your time in Orlando. The hand-drawn, watercolor look also helps visually imply that the complex information will be easy to understand.
Of course it’s an innocent question meant with good intentions, however it does make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I try not to roll my eyes, and instead paste on a smile, and answer them nicely about my travel photography gear I use. It doesn’t matter if it’s a phone camera, a point-and-shoot, or a DSLR with interchangeable lenses – what makes a great photo memory of a holiday is how you take the picture, not what you take the picture with.
Sure, you want to get that picture of Billy and Susie in front of the Eiffel Tower, but if you want a good picture of Billy and Susie then you want to think about composition before you click the shutter button. A shot where everything is exactly symmetrical in the frame can also have a powerful effect. When you first glimpse at a photo, our brain automatically starts to decipher the picture trying to figure out what the picture is of. Framing in composition is something that frames your main subject to call even more attention to it. However photography is about moving; crouching, standing on things, putting your camera on the ground and changing perspectives. It doesn’t matter what camera you use, or what equipment you have, to do any of these simple things. First you need a good camera and then you need to learn all the advanced trigonometry and physics necessary to use said camera. Have you noticed how  sometimes they talk about the stuff in the pictures more than the people?
I sat there and fooled around with my camera for a minute or two because I wanted to capture what I was remembering about my own experience as a child. We work with some of the world's leading photographers, including Michael "Nick" Nichols, Steve McCurry, Art Wolfe, and Jim Brandenburg. Bear with me since a lot of this can seem very woo woo spiritual, and we’re probably going to drop the P entirely.
My depression is like an oversized cat that always wants to sit on my keyboard because it needs my attention RIGHT NOW to tell me that things are wrong. This seems obvious, but more than just trying to calm yourself down it focuses on physical ways of calming your body, especially through breathing. By day she writes things for the Autism Society of Minnesota, and by night she writes things everywhere else.
You want lots of light — but not direct sunlight, as then you get shadows and squinting. I just started a blog (you are more than welcome to visit me!) and one of the things I was worried about was the photos not looking good.
It doesn’t portray looking down at them but rather almost getting in on their fun with them! And sometimes zooming in even more than you think you should creates interesting shots as well.

However, to be fair, I’ve been using these photo editing tools for almost 3 years so I never gave iPhoto a fair chance. Consider what you see through the viewfinder at the moment before you click the shutter button as your canvas – and just like a painter, you decide what is going to go on the canvas and where it is placed.
If this is the only thing that you pick up from this whole article – I consider it a success – it’s just that important.
Without us being aware of it, our brain looks for lines that lead us to the subject of the picture. A good start is to go slow and look for reflections as taking a reflection picture can be a new way to showcase an often-photographed sight or simply ordinary photograph. A selfie at the top of the Empire State Building is less impressive to me than showing me the experience you had going up the building and of seeing all of Manhattan from that perspective! If you approach the picture with that in mind, you will take better, more meaningful pictures of your family.
I was watching her and thinking about how great it was to be a kid, when the most important part of your day was deciding what colors to put on an egg.
Why did I reach for my camera just now and not 10 minutes ago (or not at all) then you’ll begin to take better pictures of your family immediatly. Supporting photographers is not just a sideline activity for us, it’s one of the main missions of Photocrati. This skill is definitely one that it took me some time to get used to, but I have found it helpful since then, if only for jolting my mind out of the tracks that it’s playing and sending it to a new place. So when I feel it taking over, I imagine setting out a little comfy box for my depression cat and tricking it away from me so that it goes to explore the box. One evidence based technique for this is to time your breaths and make your exhale longer than your inhale.
I just realized it wasn’t as intuitive for me so I kept using the free internet-based editing tools!
You can control this by moving your body around to various viewpoints, moving closer, moving away, lying down, standing on something, or turning in circles if you want!
Of course you can look for reflections in bodies of water, like lakes, rivers, and streams. If you are photographing children (or anything lower to the ground), then crouching is a must to get to their level and interact with them. Looking through a photo album the faces all start to run together, it’s the things that make the memories special. When I see this picture now it reminds me of that memory and hopefully it will do the same for my daughter one day.
Think about what it felt like when you were a kid and climbed on a horse, then try to preserve that feeling for your son. IMPROVE is the skill for taking a moment that is utterly sucky and making it mildly less sucky.
You can do this by counting (one longer on the exhale) or by choosing two words that you find relaxing, one more syllable than the other, and repeating them to the inhale and exhale. Unfortunately, because these techniques are about working with your emotions in the moment without actually changing your situation, a lot of them feel like nonaction. Plus – it’s a great way to highlight something that is always photographed; it brings a new perspective and interest to the subject. But push yourself further and look for reflections in windows, puddles, fountains, and even beverages. Another option is progressive muscle relaxation.Mayo Clinic has some other suggestions for relaxation and with some Google searches you can probably find something that feels good to you. To be most effective, you should try to create your overall composition so that the lines appear to be moving in or out of a corner(s) of he image. Shooting from different angles and levels can make a huge difference between an ok and great picture. They’re just about noticing how your body and mind are bringing up certain emotions and trying to adjust what your body is doing or how your mind is thinking. I break all of the rules in this article if there is a why, when, where, or who that reminds me of a place, time, or experience. My technical knowledge allows me to take the picture from the proper angle with the proper light, etc, but it’s my desire to preserve the memory of my children decorating the house that leads me to create an image that is unique and so much better than a snapshot. This is a gift for my children… a memory recall button they can use 30 years from now to feel the same way I did when  I took the picture.
For some people it’s frustrating to just imagine a place that is calming, but it can be a fairly effective technique. If the world around you is really not going so well, take a few minutes to very vividly imagine yourself in a situation that would be great. You are being a law abiding citizen because you find meaning in participating in a society. The more you can convince your brain that nice, soothing things are happening, the more your body will calm down and your emotions will lessen.

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